Sometimes I feel like horror is one giant pool of remakes. I don’t know the statistics on this, but it seems as if horror is a genre that gets remade more than any other. Who knows if this is true, but I do know I’ve watched a lot of remakes in my time on horror island. One of my favorite films, Let the Right One In, was remade the American way in 2010. Other than dropping the overseas location, the subtitles and the names of the main characters, this film isn’t much different from its original. Why the seven, you ask? I know (hope) you know I gave the original a nine, so this is still a drop-off. I’ll tell you why. If you read my review for Psycho, which I only assume you have since you read all of them, you know I believe some films just shouldn’t be remade. This is one of those.
Imitation is the greatest form of flattery, or so they say. As with the Psycho remake, Let Me In strives to recreate its original nearly shot-by-shot. Some things appear out of order and a few characters are different, but this movie is incredibly similar to the first. Even the dialogue without subtitles is often word-for-word. I appreciated this, I did. Remakes fall into a few different categories. (1) Near perfect recreation of the first. (2) Slightly different to make a name for itself, but pays tribute to the first. (3) Completely different, for the better. (4) Trashes everything about the original and is nothing like it. Rob Zombie’s Halloween remakes are examples of #4. Let Me In is #1. Dawn of the Dead is #2. I can’t think of a #3 off the top of my head, but I’m sure there is one. I appreciate that Let Me In is a #1 largely because it means it’s not a #4. Nothing could break my heart more than if this film ruined everything beautiful about the first. Following the original so closely is what got this film a seven. Obviously since the first is incredible, a recreation will be, too.
So why the seven? Horror is a genre you can’t always put into words. Sometimes I’m not sure why something is a ten and something is a nine, but it just is. Let Me In doesn’t have the same sparkle as the first. Maybe the sparkle got lost in transit to America, but it’s simply not there. I know sparkle isn’t a real reason, but if you’ve seen both, I hope you know what I mean. American horror tends to take anything and everything one step too far; we’re not much for subtlety here in the states. What made Let the Right One In so tragically beautiful is that it was subtle and the creator trusted the audience to pick up on everything despite that. Let Me In is a bit more in-your-face because apparently in America we don’t trust our audience to sort through the subtleties. I found the vampire portrayal of Abby (Eli in the Swedish version) to be more graphic than necessary. And frankly, while I thought Kodi Smit-McPhee performed well as Owen, I didn’t feel as though Chloe Moretz had the talent to portray her character the way it should.
Imitation of its original enabled this movie to be a really great film. And if you haven’t seen the original, you’ll probably think this movie is amazing. I found it impossible to watch this and not compare it to the original, so be warned. While this remake is fantastic for both remake and horror standards, it's not the original. The shimmer and sparkle is gone and this version is missing something. As far as horror island is concerned, this vampire is much more evil in appearance than Eli, so she could drum up some more scares. Perhaps the two girls will join forces, spreading horror and sadness throughout the island.
If you liked Let Me In, you might also like Let the Right One In and Dracula.